Not Neglecting the Important for the Urgent

Tasks may be urgent, but people are important

There are many times God uses my sweet 5-year-old son to humble me and redirect my focus to the important things. Recently, as I was tucking him into bed and praying quickly over him, I thought about all the things I still had left to do. In my own world, I hoped to quickly walk out. However, to my surprise, my son quickly sat up, put his hands on mine, and asked, “Mommy, why are you running?”

I was stunned.

He was right, of course.

I was so focused on the urgent tasks I still had to do before going to bed that I neglected the most important: praying with my son. I had prioritized the urgent over the important.

Sprinkled throughout the Gospels we see this tension as well. Jesus comes to fulfill the law yet he shines light on a new law—a new covenant. He heals on the Sabbath when no work was to be done; he talks with women whom society deemed unacceptable; he ate with tax collectors and sinners, which no one claiming to be righteous would do.

But in all of these things, Jesus was not just revolutionizing a culture, he was reminding people not to neglect the important for the urgent. The urgent and the important are fused throughout his ministry.

But how do we discern the difference between what is important and what is urgent, especially when it seems we have such little time to start with—and so many urgent issues with which to deal?

With the media at our fingertips, Google always available, and the ability to connect with others via social media night or day, the urgent seems to demand all of our attention.

How, then, do we even make room for the important?

Here are a few suggestions:

We keep the main thing, the main thing.

When Jesus, as a teacher of the law, was approached by a Pharisee (an expert in the ...

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